'No One Said Rock and Roll Was Easy' [DEMO] on Deadhead OG

It's interesting to me how this song started out and where it is now...in my head I wanted to write a good old-fashioned rockin' track in the style of Bob Seger or Foghat - but I am neither of those bands - and when I hear it, it kinda sounds sarcastic - so in the end I feel like a bit of a dink mocking my original inspiration, but that's okay I guess. Unlike math, in "song-making" there is no RIGHT answer. And that's really what I think I do more than "songwriting" - its song MAKING. From drums to guitars, melodies, etc... I like to make songs. I'm picturing the stereotypical "song WRITER" as an introspective breaded dude with an acoustic playing local coffee shops with clever compositions impressing the well-read folk, and I think he's smarter than me - this statement is made all the more meaningless by the fact that I am currently sporting a beard - but for the most part, I know I'm not that guy. (I'm more like the guy in the movie that says one line that they forgot to put in the credits but all the crew remembers as "that guy who was always by the food trays - yea we should probably send him a bill. Oh wait he's not in the credits?? Ah well forget it") The Deadhead OG was very relaxing and helped me channel a bit more sultry sensualness. 

[SPECIAL NOTES: This song was recorded on 10/12/17 during a 12-hour session. I first laid down the guitar riff and built the verses over top. I wanted the chorus to be big and open with an ode to Seger tagline: "no one said rock and roll was easy".]

Trainwreck produces NEW track "Chemistry Set"

My lovely fiance brought home this Trainwreck from AMA a few days ago and could not wait to try writing with it! It smelled amazing - piney, fruity, one of the most fragrant Trainwrecks I've ever experienced. I took a single long dose from a Buddha vaporizer (and an Arnold Palmer for caffiene). This song came out of a single day's songwriting session this past Tuesday 9/12/17 along with 3 other tracks (with varying results). For this track I tried to work in as much scientific/chemistry lingo as possible to describe a love between two young folks. You see, the truth is - me and my lady have a good thing going - and I love it when I get the chance to express my love for her in a song. And since she brought home this wonderful Trainwreck anyway - hey its not like I need to find more excuses to write songs about her! We've had a unique chemistry ever since we were youngins fiddling with test tubes in the basement.

'Vulcan Prism Blues' on 707 Headband

I'm loving this strain right now! 707 puts me in a positive, creative mood ready to attack the day. Luckily I didn't have to ATTACK anyone today - I just dove right into the recording process. I was in the mood for a bit of a mid-tempo thinker today. I love the fuzzed out bass in this track - and the call and response with the guitars throughout the track give it a fun, bouncy feel. Lyrically I wanted to communicate the idea of feeling voluntarily isolated - the person in this song doesn't want to "run with the pack" ala Bad Company in the 70s - though IF Paul Rodgers wanted to hang out, I'm sure exceptions would be made. The singer is slightly disillusioned with their life and isn't sure whether its easier to blend in with the crowd or stand up and be an individual. Now you can think about all that OR just bob your head to the beat! Check it out below:

Studio Remodel pt. 1

Hola! which I believe in Spanish means, "howdy!" - or just "hello". Is there a Spanish word for "Howdy"?? Regardless, today's post comes without music, but WAS quite productive nonetheless. I cleaned up my studio and did a slight re-organization of my mixing console, adjusted for room acoustics, routed cables and wires more cleanly, etc. All of this was in preparation for my NEW STUDIO COMPUTER! I've gone from the digital stone age to now running a 64-bit Windows 10 rig with 16 GB RAM. I'm working on Pro Tools 12 - and with the help of my good friend Anthony, I will soon be learning Ableton Live. Anthony also put this beast of a computer together so a big thanks to him coming back and forth to my house over the past month or so.

I'm in STAGE ONE of acoustic treatment for this room. You'll see the foam pads placed (ALMOST!) symmetrically throughout the room - which has already improved the accuracy of the sound coming through the speakers. My next step will be to get a pair of bass traps for the 2 corners of this room - lots of sound, particularly bass, will get mushed up and muddied in those corners and F with what you THINK you're hearing. A few posters and autographed things for inspiration is always good - I don't stare at them - but I've surrounded myself with positive energy and that can't be bad. So this is my home studio setup; fairly simple, small to medium sized, and fully capable of delivering a "professional" result. Now whether I achieve that result or not is another question....

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The picture below is what one might call the "live room" - but its really just in the loft area of my house. I sectioned off a portion of the room and surrounded it with Audimute blankets to deaden the sound, and then placed some curtains/sheets over the top via staple gun to make it look more nifty. I record all my drums in here with a 4 mic technique and also record any electric guitars through the guitar amp in the back right of the below pic. 

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This room works well for sound isolation and controls what the mics do AND DON'T pick up. The drums haven't been mic'd up or sound checked yet - that is my mission for the rest of today and through the weekend. I will post more as it happens, so DON'T MOVE - just keep refreshing this page!! HAHA

"Shine" on Big Smooth

I know what you might be thinking...and no, I had never heard of a strain called 'Big Smooth' either. But my friendly budtender told me it was known to be good for "intimate times" and whenever I hear that I tend to listen up. Now what I do in my "intimate times" is for another blog, but lets just say I had some Big Smooth leftover and wanted to see how it might influence a songwriting session. 

My main mission for this track was to make something upbeat and melodic but with a few odd/half-step progressions thrown in. The song is about being confident and not hesitating when you're in the moment, y'know - let yourself "Shine!" 

So my conclusion is the song below. I liked the taste of Big Smooth as well - very fruity/berry and well-balanced effects for being creative. The cultivator of Big Smooth is Silver State Trading from Sparks, NV. You can find it in dispensaries all throughout Nevada. 

'Going Down' on Lemon OG

I really enjoyed the Lemon smell and taste of this Lemon OG! If you've ever had a decent "Lemon X (anything)" strain you know what I'm talking about. This produced a very calming cerebral effect while giving me a nice body buzz...hooray for hybrids! The fine folks down at Shango really put out a high quality batch. This batch tested around 23% THC. Check it out along with their equally-excellent Super Lemon Haze (for more Lemon zest!) or their Grape Valley Kush for a high-THC indica made for ultimate relaxation (movie, video games, sleep, snacks taste better, etc) I'm getting side-tracked...

This song is a fun one - well not really "fun" lyrically, but its a fun one because it came together quickly and I love the soft to hard verse/chorus along with the tone and simplicity of the guitars. So cheer up and go down with me...

 

'Over My Dead Body' on Headband

I picked up a gram of Headband from Deep Roots Harvest, who I absolutely love, from their "home base" location out in Mesquite, NV. I always thought of Headband as more of a sativa - but they had it listed as an indica so I was curious exactly how this potentially heavier strain might effect my creativity. The song that resulted was most definitely a little darker/heavier than usual. I was stuck on the phrase "Over My Dead Body" - I remember kids saying that growing up - and I wanted to write something with that as the hook/theme cuz its kinda interesting and dark and reminds me of my childhood - so I stumbled upon a C7 chord - kinda quirky, weird - and wanted to include some cool spacey vocals on top. The guitar is a beautiful Telecaster on loan from my good friend Rich and I love the clean yet overdriven sound it has. Fun track, and don't worry about the whole "dead body" thing...its a little morbid but I'm a very happy person! So don't read into it too much - just enjoy it!

FYI - I also picked up some Lemon Kush that I'm itching to crack open and I'm anxious to see what might result! Please check back next week and until then be well...

'Don't Worry Bout Me' on Gorilla Goo

I was in the mood to write something that had a "real life" feel to it. But first had to ask myself "do I have a 'REAL LIFE' that I could draw inspiration from?" Surely I must. Shirley, I must! 

So I partook in some excellent new crumble concentrate from Moxie - Gorilla Goo, which leads me to believe it is a cross between Gorilla Glue #4 and Afgoo. It really made me want to clean the house - so I did that for a few hours all the while keeping my brain open to new song ideas. About the time I got to scrubbing the toilets I started to consider the position of "I wonder if anyone really cares how well I scrub the toilets, or am I the only one who can appreciate this deep clean?"  I let these thoughts continue until I came up with a song idea about being taken for granted, something we all feel at one time or another. So here is what I came up with, a track whose full title is "Don't Worry Bout Me (Taking You For Granted)" - check it out below:

'In The Middle Of The Night' on Head Cheese

Head Cheese has really become one of my favorite all time strains. This particular batch was from the fantastic growers down at Polaris. It gave me that care-free happy high that really helped me get into a creative state. I really wanted to write a happy song celebrating my girlfriend and how she's available for me at any hour of the day/night. I was also listening to a lot of Billy Joel's "An Innocent Man" album at the time - so this has an 80s throwback to the 60s sound to it...if that's possible. 

The song "In The Middle Of The Night" is a high-energy celebration of love for all time - at any time! I wanted to sneak in the naughty bits so I made the title seem innocent but there's more to this tune than meets the ear. Hey why not be a boss and add it to your Spotify playlist?? 

'I Never Knew You Like That' on super silver haze

Here's a fun track I wrote when I was smoking a lot of sativas. Super Silver Haze was a favorite of mine during that time. Super racy (not racist) and energetic, hence the rocking. I remember trying to write the weirdest words I could think of. I tried to paint some strange visuals to counteract the rocking guitars in the verse. One thing about a strong sativa is that it can really hit your head hard - and my brain was definitely in an altered state. My favorite lyric from this song is "10 gallon hat with room to spare, always say "Howdy" but no ones there." Check out Brand Spankin' New Tracks like 'I Never Knew You Like That' from Donato now on Spotify! 

'Over-Medicated' on SFV OG

A classic southern California strain SFV OG can be a pretty intoxicating strain. It started in the head for me and then spread thru my entire body creating an intense experience that simply HAD to be documented! SFV is one where I can get lost down a mental rabbit hole for several hours...and this time was no different! Many much kudos to the fine folks down at Remedy for putting out some fantastic medicine - all their OGs have been especially tasty and have an excellent terpene profile. 

I do not own a proper SLIDE to play slide guitar with, so I used a Sharpie pen (I believe it was red) and slid it haphazardly across the neck of the guitar doing my best Joe Perry impression. It turned out ok considering I didn't know what I was doing. Also listen up for the inappropriate lyrics in the verse. With the rap delivery of the verse combined with the slide guitar I think this could be a true hip-hop/country CROSSOVER HIT! Prove to all the neighborhood naysayers you really are TOO LEGIT TO QUIT and ADD THIS TRACK TO YOUR SPOTIFY PLAYLIST! 

'Wouldn't Change A Thing' on Strawberry cough

It's a nice concept really. Being grateful for what you have, aware that life may not be ideal, but still being okay with what is. The opening lyric "I got made fun of in front of my friends, but that didn't spoil the weekend." really is a sound philosophy. You gotta let things roll off your back. So I came up with this song recently which expresses that sentiment. I wasn't singing very well that day, but hey...the point is: focus on the good and appreciate it. Often times I've found once I do this, good things start happening. The song doesn't take itself too seriously either. This can be found on Volume 7 of my Homemade Hits collection on Spotify

The strain is another classic: the sweet tasting, sativa-dominant hybrid Strawberry Cough. One cannot deny just how effective a focused, mood-enhancing sativa can be. And it really does taste like strawberries! If you've never had real Strawberry Cough - please do yourself a favor and grab some asap! We have an incredible grower here Green Life Productions and Steve Cantwell who puts out one of the finest Strawberry Coughs I've ever seen! 

'Open Casket' on blue dream

You can hear the tension building and revolving around the lyrical ideas of never giving up and giving it one last shot. This optimism can in part be credited to the ultra-happy strain Blue Dream. It may be the most common/popular strain out there. And for good reason: it relaxes the body and puts the mind at ease. This kind of "mental relaxation" is essential for songwriting. You have to give your brain some room to think of something, and this excellent Blue Dream from Deep Roots Harvest was some of the best I've ever had. A shout out to Ryan and his guys in Mesquite for consistently putting out some of the best medicine in Nevada. This song is a cool blend of what I think is the true "Grenades sound" because it is such a great mix of what Daniel and I do all smashed together. The song started as a guitar-based riff song, but Daniel's synth and production work took it to another level! With the addition of Blue Dream's "warm hug" effect - this song really came together nicely and I'd like to send a big giant THANK YOU to all those involved! It's also on Spotify HERE! 

Check it out below:

'Family Down' using qwerkle

This song just kinda spewed out of me...well that sounds gross...but it came out in a natural/flowing sort of way. A "spewish" kinda way I guess. The lyrics must have come from whatever I was thinking at the time; as a person grows up, people around them can react to those changes in a variety of ways and I think that shapes us as people. It started as a stream of consciousness brainstorm and then just pieced itself together. I enjoyed playing the bouncy drums and fun little guitar stuff throughout. If ye ole' memory serves correct, this was played on a late 90s American Telecaster through a Palamino 32 Class-A tube amp in Sanchez McDonald studios. Try and see yourself there...Family Down is on Spotify!

The cannabis involved was a fantastic Querkle Cannabis Oil extract from Silver State Wellness up in Sparks, NV. The #1 most relaxing indica I have enjoyed WITHOUT feeling overly lethargic. Credit that to the off the charts B-Caryophylene content of 31.7 mg/g! 

 

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Give It To Me

This was one of my favorites from The Grenades project, another fun collaboration between Daniel and myself. This was a super fun song to work on - shooting ideas back and forth - that's when some really cool energy can be created, and before you know it - a song is born! And that definitely happened here - this one came together fairly quickly and retained much of its original spark/spunk and that makes it enjoyable for me. I think if the process would have been long and drawn out or painful in anyway, I would always be reminded of that whenever I listened to the song - but thankfully this one is pure fun! And I hope it is for you too!

Records On The Stereo

This was always a favorite of mine from the 2nd UTMoST album "Great American Death Pop" it features a great bassline from Mr. Chris Sprinkle, excellent drums and harmonies by Corky Gainsford and lets not forget a wicked solo from yours truly! This song has a very nostalgic feel to it, and tells the story of a young couple as they try to stay together while each growing up and evolving as individuals. But most importantly it has a catchy melody and a beat you can dance to.! Dick Clark says (said) that was most important. Also gotta send a shout out to "Magic" Matt Bruenig for rocking this production on the 1's and 2's, thanks buddy! So check it out and play it loud...

So Far Away

Happy Holidays good people of earth! I am posting a "new" song update, as you might notice the word "new" is in quotes and that is because the song itself was first written in early 2013 (not "new") but the updates I have made to this recording ARE indeed new (<-- no quotes). I gave it a quick re-sing and re-mix along with some other little tweaks. This song is a fun one, it has a cool descending minor chord progression and a nice melody over top. You can find it on the "Transcriptions" album, t's called "So Far Away" and I do hope you'll listen and enjoy it! 

Things Are So Much Better

Experiencing some flashbacks today....not the scary kind, more the fond, reminiscing kind. This track is from The UTMoST days off our first full-length self-titled album. This song reminds me of a few things; playing to a gymnasium full of kids rocking while on tour up in Washington State. And also the fact that this song got a decent amount of radio play here in Vegas on KOMP 92.3 thanks to Laurie Steele. Very cool! I think it was the first time I heard myself on the radio! It was a very creative time, lots of songs coming out and ideas flowing. Also with Mr. Tom Paris acting as the producer/engineer, it made a fun experience even BETTER! What an amazingly talented guy! And here I am having more little flashbacks...ENJOY!

The UTMoST - self-titled (2004)